2017 Third Quarter
Sandy Area Sensational Business
US World Class Taekwondo

US World Class Taekwondo - SAS Winner

U.S. World Class Taekwondo houses 100 students.

Taekwondo School Gets Kicks from Community Involvement

Brittany Allen | Sandy Post – October 11, 2017

As a child, Master Sam Lider found discipline and solace in the martial arts. For the better part of a decade, he’s worked to offer the same opportunities to Sandy youths at U.S. World Class Taekwondo, 36655 Highway 26.

“Like a lot of kids, (Sam) had a lot of energy,” Claire Lider, Sam’s wife said. “He honestly believes without martial arts he wouldn’t have made it through school.”

The Liders purchased their first school in Gresham in 2009 and now own five of the 30 U.S. World Class Taekwondo Association’s schools. Sandy was special to the Liders, who both grew up in small towns, because of the vibe.

“We have several locations, but obviously our heart is in Sandy,” Claire explained. “Sandy was the first location where we decided to build from the ground up because of the community.”

Khrys and Sam US World Class Taekwondo

Master Sam Lider of U.S. World Class Taekwondo was presented with the Sandy Area Sensational Business Award at the Oct. 25 Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

Claire herself didn’t come on board at the schools until 2011, but quickly found her interest in public service fulfilled through teaching children

“I really saw when I tied my first kid’s white belt the reason for my husband’s passion,” she recalled. “It’s definitely the students that make the studio out here. We just help facilitate the people that are there.”

Besides classes at their Sandy Marketplace location, the Liders enjoy offering chances for local students to learn taekwondo in after-school programs.

“We understand that not everyone can do taekwondo because of financial situations and time constraints,” Claire Lider added. “There’s a whole different group of kids we get to meet by doing after-school programs.”

In an effort to give back to the community more directly, the Liders also try to participate in local events and host donation drives at the school.

“Every local event we can find to do out there, we definitely try to become a part of,” she said. “We invested ourselves and time in meeting people. We still have people (here) that signed up at our grand opening. To look back at where we were and where we are now, it’s truly because of the community and the families in our school that we’ve been noticed for this award. I think with any kind of nomination, it’s always nice to see what you’ve done to be recognized.”

“Every local event we can find to do out there, we definitely try to become a part of,” she said. “We invested ourselves and time in meeting people. We still have people (here) that signed up at our grand opening. To look back at where we were and where we are now, it’s truly because of the community and the families in our school that we’ve been noticed for this award. I think with any kind of nomination, it’s always nice to see what you’ve done to be recognized.

The Other Two Nominees

Sandy Cinema - Sandy, OR - SAS Nominee
Sandy Family Restaurant - Sandy, OR - SAS Nominee

Little Theater Big Involvement

By Brittany Allen | Sandy Post – October 4, 2017

Sandy Cinema officially opened on May 16, 2002, with the premier of ‘Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.

With fall in full swing, the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce has found three new nominees for its next sensational business award, to be celebrated at the next quarterly luncheon.

Among the top three nominees for this quarter’s award are Sandy Cinema, Sandy Family Restaurant and U.S. World Class Taekwondo.

The Sandy Post has featured each business in an effort to better acquaint the community with the nominees before the voting process in the coming weeks.

Back at the turn of the century, before Sandy was quite the city it is now, a survey was done. It asked students what they wanted most from their community. The overwhelming response was that local kids wanted a movie theater. At the time the city was concerned its youths would get into trouble without proper opportunities for entertainment, so it called cinema owner Elie Kassab of Prestige Theaters to build Sandy’s own theater.

“The city was easy to deal with (and) they helped look at a few sites,” Kassab said. “When the time came for applications and permits they were very helpful.”

On May 16, 2002, Sandy Cinema opened at 16605 Champion Way with “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.”

“We responded to a (need) of the community,” Kassab added. “It’s been popular since we opened it. The city has definitely grown.”

Besides offering a place to see all the latest Hollywood blockbusters, Sandy Cinema has also tried hard to “become part of the community.”

One way Kassab said it has done this is by building a relationship and rewards system with the Oregon Trail School District.

“We have a great program that is near and dear to our hearts,” he explained. The program is what Kassab calls the Super Student Pass. “We felt — as a parent myself — I like to encourage my children to do well and reward them.”

That is why he gives out free movie passes for academic excellence.

“The teachers absolutely love the program,” Kassab said.

The cinema also donates movie passes to nonprofit organizations in Sandy, sponsors toy, food and blood drives, and it serves as an emergency location for the school district.

“We serve smaller communities,” Kassab said. “We do it for the love of community and we do it because there is a need.”

Sandy Family Restaurant Lauded for Friendliness, Small Town Feel.

By Brittany Allen | Sandy Post – October 11, 2017

Sandy Family Restaurant/Ria’s Bar owner Ria Brower and Restaurant Manager Dana Richardson.

With fall in full swing, the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce has found three new nominees for its next sensational business award, which will be celebrated at the next quarterly luncheon.

The top three nominees for this quarter’s award are Sandy Cinema, Sandy Family Restaurant and U.S. World Class Taekwondo. The Sandy Post has featured each business in an effort to better acquaint the community with the nominees before the voting process in the coming weeks.

For the past four years, Sandy Family Restaurant has strived to be just what its name suggests. Ria’s Bar, which is attached to the downtown eatery, has been in the community for six years, and though its customer base is a little different, the family feel remains.

“It’s a place for people to come eat and enjoy being here,” said Ria Brower, owner of the businesses at 39024 Proctor Blvd.

Brower is originally from Trinidad, and moved to the United States with her family as a child.

Growing up on her island home, she came to love small communities like Sandy, and said “I’ve always had big dreams for myself.”

“I always knew I wanted to be something good in life, and I feel pretty fortunate that it’s worked out well for me,” she explained.

Before striking out to build her first bar in Oregon City with her then-husband, Brower worked at Washington Mutual Bank in Sandy, and met much of the community in that capacity. When the bar space on Proctor Boulevard opened up and she was looking to move from Oregon City, Brower jumped on the chance to establish Ria’s in Sandy.

“I was very familiar already with the town,” she said. “I love the small-town feel.”

In her time in Sandy, Brower has tried to extend the same loyalty she sees from her regulars back into the community, hosting nonprofit group Sandy Helping Hands’ annual Camo Pub Crawl, participating in the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday festivities and Trick-or-Treat Trail.

Besides hosting several events in an effort to not only feed, but entertain the public, Brower also is a hands-on owner.

“I am the janitor to the dishwasher to the busses to the bartender,” she explained. “But, I wouldn’t trade it. I love it. (And), out of all of the businesses in Sandy, it really is kind of a privilege to be nominated (for the Chamber award).”

Brower contributes much of her success to the work of her managers, Dana Richardson and Cassandra Henderson, who have been with their respective businesses since day one.

“I (like) being able to employ people from the community,” she said. “Our locals is what makes us.”

2017 Second Quarter
Sandy Area Sensational Business
Sandy Fire District #72

Sandy Fire District #72 - SAS Winner Second Quarter 2017

Firefighting Team ‘Humbled’ by Local Community Support, Consideration for Sensational Business Award

Brittany Allen | Sandy Post – July 27, 2017
Sandy Fire Department

Sandy Fire Department crew.

The fire department has been a local institution for more than 100 years. At its heart, the station is a combination department, run by both career and volunteer firefighters since 1972.

With time, the department has grown in size and scope and its 88-person crew is now responsible for the protection of 77 square-miles in the Sandy area. Firefighters range in age and experience from budding school-aged explorers, to volunteers and longtime career firefighters.

In his 40 years with the department, Fire Chief Phil Schneider has held almost every position possible, from a child explorer to his current role as leader.

“It’s been a good, positive experience,” Schneider noted. “I love Sandy (and) I love coming to work. Firefighting is such a new challenge every day.”

Schneider explained that in the past three years he has served as chief, he has tried to run the department more like a business to ensure “efficiency” and be a better steward of the community taxpayers’ money.

“As you grow, it is a business,” he added. “You have to make smart choices with other people’s money.”

An example of how Schneider tries to put his words to action can be seen in the highly anticipated fire station seismic remodel, which finally broke ground last October.

Schneider said the project was largely made possible through intentional savings and smart budgeting, and is projected to be completed by the end of this year.

This year the department was approved for a Level 3 Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating for the one-to-five mile jurisdiction area surrounding its 17460 Bruns Ave. station.

In rural areas like Sandy, positive ratings — four or lower on a 10-point scale — are difficult to obtain because of inaccessibility to water and other factors. The department improved on response times and resources within its radius area to earn the rating.

Companies commonly base fire insurance rates on the ISO rating of the customer’s local fire agency, so customers within five miles of the station could see decreased insurance costs.

“It’s one thing we are proud we did this year to help the community out,” Schneider said. “We advise that people contact their fire insurance companies.”

Though the benefits Sandy Fire Department brings to its community are substantial, Schneider commented that he was still “shocked” upon hearing it had been nominated for the chamber’s Sensational Business award.

“We’re very humbled we got picked (and) that people like the service we’re giving,” he noted. “The community has been great to us. They’ve supported us. It just shows that as a group we’re doing the right thing.”

The Other Two Nominees

Sandy Cinema - Sandy, OR - SAS Nominee
Mountain Moka - Sandy, OR - SAS Nominee

Your Source for Local News’

By Brittany Allen | Sandy Post – August 9, 2017

Brittany Allen of the Sandy Post

POST PHOTO BY: JOSH KULLA Brittany Allen has been the news reporter for The Sandy Post since December of 2016, and thoroughly enjoys working with the team at the office of the Gresham Outlook and her Estacada counterpart.

“We at the Sandy Post are grateful for this nomination,” said Publisher/Executive Editor Steve Brown, who has lived in Sandy with his wife, Shannon, and their two children since 2008. “The fact that we’re nominated is an indication that people value the importance of fair, accurate and timely news reporting.”

The Post has provided coverage of the Sandy area for 75 years, focusing on the stories important to its readers in an effort to be a true community institution. Earlier this month, The Post was the recipient of the 2017 Elmo Smith Award for General Excellence in the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association annual Better Newspaper Contest.

The production of the weekly newspaper is overseen by Brown and his staff, including Associate Editor Shannon O. Wells and Special Sections Editor Anne Endicott, Advertising Sales Manager Alisa Applegate, advertising sales representative John Wilson, news reporter Brittany Allen, Sports Editor Dave Ball and sports reporter Matt Rawlings.

Allen covers the goings-on of communities from Boring to Sandy and up the Mount Hood corridor through Welches, Zigzag, Rhododendron and Government Camp.

In addition to his work with The Post, Brown is also active in the community, holding a board position with the Sandy Mountain Festival and serving as parade director for five years.

The Post, which is part of the Milwaukie-based Pamplin Media Group, is a member of the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce. Brown is an active member of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce, serving on its board of directors and also sits on the board of the East Metro Economic Alliance, a group that advocates for business interests at the local, regional and statewide levels. He also is an active member of the Gresham Rotary Club.

“On behalf of The Post, thank you for thinking of your community newspaper for the Sensational Business award, and thank you to everyone — community members, loyal advertisers and colleagues — for choosing The Post as your source of local news,” Brown said.

In addition to publishing a weekly print edition of The Post, the newspaper provides immediate online coverage of news events through its website (sandypost.com) and via Facebook and Twitter.

Building a Community of Coffee People

By Brittany Allen | Sandy Post – August 9, 2017
Mt. Moka Coffee

Hailey Blaschke, Tina Hovey and Adrienne Acosta enjoy the community vibe at Mountain Moka in between cups of coffee.

Mike and Rosemary Guisto have owned the community institution for 16 of its more than 25 years, and Mike’s sister, Tina Hovey has been running the show as the face of the place since they purchased the business.

“We just thought it was a great opportunity,” Hovey said of her family’s motivation to take over and keep the coffee flowing at the little corner coffee shop at 17450 S.E. Meinig Ave. “Their coffee is an addiction.”When she’s not being the life of the party at Mountain Moka, Hovey is cutting hair in a salon in her hometown of Gresham.

Hovey lives in Sandy, only a mile away from the shop, and has raised her children here. Her daughter has even worked at the shop almost as long as Hovey herself has managed the business.

Though working with her daughter is a fun perk, being the first stop for people’s morning pick-me-up is her favorite part of working at Mountain Moka.

“We’re kind of like the place that’s part of people’s morning routine,” Hovey noted. “It’s more a part of them. It’s kind of cool. I’m a people person. The girls laugh and say all I do is stand around and talk to people all day.”

In an effort to give back to the regulars and the community that supports the shop, Hovey and the team at Mountain Moka donate gallons of coffee to community events every year and host several fundraisers for locals in need.However, Hovey explained that though the contributions Mountain Moka has made over the years are notable, that’s not the reason the shop donates and volunteers.

“(I’m) just completely honored,” she said of the shop’s nomination. “(But) you do things not for the reason of being recognized, but to help.”

Most recently, the shop participated in a Fill the Boot campaign to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“I’m a firm believer in (the idea that) people help take care of us, so we help take care of them,” she explained, adding that in the end, the result of their fundraisers should really be attributed to the customers who donate. “We open the door to these fundraisers, but the customers deserve the credit. If we do a little paperwork, the community pulls through.”

2017 First Quarter
Sandy Area Sensational Business
LT Travel

LT Travel - SAS Winner First Quarter 2017

Working for someone else’s weekend

Brittany Allen | Sandy Post – March 22, 2017

Lisa Foster works from her home just outside of Sandy.

Lisa Foster, the one-woman show of LT Travel, has been a part of the Sandy area business community for 15 years, branching out on her own in 2002 to supply the community’s travel needs.

Before her business became home-based, Foster, starting in 1981, worked in several different parts of the industry.

Travel was not her initial dream career, but one day when a travel scout came into the veterinary clinic where she worked, her life took an abrupt turn toward it.

At a younger age, all she wanted to be was a veterinarian. Now her love for life and the beauty of nature have spilled over to her outlook on travel.

“I think we’ve been blessed with a beautiful Earth,” Foster says. “I like to explore, experience new things. … Now what appeals to me is I love going to new countries, seeing new cultures and new people.”

Lisa Foster of LT Travel

Lisa Foster received a trophy, framed certificate and a month of advertising with the chamber.

Her invoices always promote this same idea with the phrase, “Traveling is a journey, not a destination,” written at the bottom of each one.

Since her career change, she has yet to regret her decision.

“If I was going for money I should have stayed in veterinary school,” she jokes. “I’ve gotten to do some great travel experiences. I would not trade that.”

Not only does travel fit her personal beliefs, but at the time that she struck out on her own, it fit her life, as a single mom with three children at home.

When she started working from her home office, Foster was her agency’s first experiment in remote agents. She quickly proved the experiment a success, garnering the highest sales in her office before leaving.

Now that her kids are grown, she appreciates the relationships she makes with new people.

“I get to know a lot of people in the community and build relationships,” Foster says. “It’s always exciting to see someone go on a vacation. I get as excited as they do.”

As someone so connected to the community on this personal level, she feels especially honored to be nominated for the chamber’s award.

“I was really excited,” she says. “It makes you feel good that someone thought of you and put your name in.”

The Other Two Nominees

Konell Construction and Demolition - Sandy, OR - SAS Nominee
Red Boot Branding - Sandy, OR - SAS Nominee

Sandy Company Known for its High-Profile Products, Repurposing Building Materials

By Brittany Allen | Sandy Post – March 29, 2017

Konell Construction Team

Many at Konell Construction are longtime members of the company family.

Though Konell President Andy Webber hails from Troutdale, he says the company’s Sandy location makes a great escape from the city, and many employees live in Sandy.

Steve Konell, who passed in 2009, founded the company in 1983. Webber started his construction career as a “grunt” worker with the company a year later, and in 2015 took on the title of president.

For 34 years, Konell has provided construction and demolition services to communities as far as Salem, throughout the Portland area and all the way up toward Mount Hood, helping with multiple major Sandy projects.

“The city’s been good to work with over the years,” Webber says. “It’s a really tight-knit community.”

Among the company’s more notable Sandy projects are the Safeway supermarket at 37601 Highway 26, demolition and construction for the new Goodwill store at 37201 Highway 26, and work on the former Sandy High School at 17100 Bluff Road.

Webber notes that the projects that most appeal to him are these “big earth-moving projects.”

He has been interested in construction since an early age, watching his father sell heavy equipment and dreaming about getting to operate some of it.

An added appeal for Webber is also being a part of change: “being able to be part of the community that’s developing the community.”

As a company, Konell has been at the forefront of change in its industry since 1988, pioneering recycling of building materials. The company owns a machine, which grinds up concrete for reuse, and the staff also cleans and reuses bricks and recycle any metal or wood they can, selling salvageable supplies to the public.

Webber says the company also tries to keep its equipment up to date and as eco-friendly as possible.

“We’re on the cutting edge of (recycling),” Webber explains. “When you do demolition, you have a lot of debris that goes to landfills. From an environmental aspect, (we’re) not filling up our landfills. … We’re a very environmentally conscious company, and in the construction business, that isn’t easy to do.”

Fittingly, the company’s slogan is “using the past to build the future,” something it has especially tried to practice in Sandy.

About winning the award, Webber says, “It is definitely quite an honor” to be recognized. “There are quite a lot of good candidates out here in Sandy.”

A One-Stop Shop – for Designs that Pop

By Brittany Allen | Sandy Post – April 5, 2017

Red Boot Family

The RedBoot team comprises Faith Stewart, her husband Rob, their two daughters and two non-family employees.

RedBoot Branding has had a home in Sandy even before the business formally planted its roots here in 2015. Co-owner Faith Stewart and her family lived there while operating their print and design company in Gresham.

“We love Sandy and it’s our home,” Faith says. “It was the best move ever. The fun part of being here is that the people of Sandy are very community-minded and want to come in and get acquainted.”

Faith started her career in advertising at the age of 20, branching out to freelance her skills and raise a family at 25. From her freelance business, what is now RedBoot was born.

JoAnna Stewart, appreciates the small town feel of their Sandy location.

“It’s cute to work with multiple companies that are close to us,” JoAnna explains, saying it is always exciting to see a logo she helped design or a vinyl she printed being used at a business around town.

“You get to know them personally and grow with them,” she adds. “It makes me more inclined to stop and check out their product.”

The family has run RedBoot, called LogoWorks until 2013, since 1993, each member coming on board as time went by, and taking on several tasks a piece.

“We’re like the little, typical small business where everyone wears many hats,” Faith explains. Her husband, two daughters and two practically family members work with Faith at their 38888 Pioneer Blvd. shop.

In the past, the shop has participated in First Friday, printing out custom Sandy shirts for attendants one year, and also helped with printing projects for Music, Fair, and Feast.

RedBoot’s clientele ranges in both location and size, but the company tries to give all of their customers a quality, polished brand and product.

“We work with everybody from tiny startup companies to large construction companies that may have six or seven offices around the Pacific Northwest,” Faith says.

The RedBoot team’s mission is to “help your business stand out,” and Faith loves when clients give her more creative freedom and ask for her help to create their brand.

“Being a creative person, the accounting and paperwork side is not nearly as fun as the people side,” she explains. “That’s when we really shine, is in helping them to represent their business.”